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KUTZTOWN, Pa. – The Kutztown University women’s basketball team will take on Penn State Lehigh Valley on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. in a non-conference matchup at Keystone Arena.
For KU fans, free admission will be provided to the game with the donation of canned goods or non-perishable items.
Falling on tough times of late, the Golden Bears (2-3, 0-2 PSAC) have dropped their last two contests, suffering defeats to No. 10 California University (PA) and Slippery Rock University in a back-to-back on the road to open up Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) action this past weekend. Slow starts combined with poor shooting doomed KU in each of these contests, trailing Cal 46-24 at the half and going behind 20-4 versus SRU at the end of the first quarter. Against staunch competition out west, Kutztown shot just 31 percent from the field and 24 percent from three, unable to find its shooting stroke in either affair.
A bright spot for the Maroon and Gold, however, was the play of both Kalee Fuegel and Jenna Widdicombe over the weekend. Widdicombe, who played 31 combined minutes against Cal and SRU, provided a spark off the bench, scoring nine points and collecting 12 rebounds, adding three steals in her first two PSAC games as a Golden Bear. Fuegel, whom has battled injuries throughout her career, scored a team-high 14 points, shooting 3-of-6 from long range, playing a season-high 26 minutes against Slippery Rock.
The freshman duo of Rylee Derr and Alexis Smith has led the way in the scoring department for the Maroon and Gold this season, averaging 11.0 ppg and 7.2 ppg, respectively. Derr and Smith have shot a combined 33.9 percent from distance, making seventeen total three-pointers.
Looking ahead to Penn State Lehigh Valley (3-1), a Division III affiliated opponent, Kutztown will see a very different team than when the two squads last met on Nov. 28, 2015, a one-sided 97-59 win for KU. Under head coach Lorie Khalil, PSU has improved in each of Kahlil’s three seasons and is coming off a 21-4 overall record last season and a second place finish at the USCAA National Championships. However, this season, the Nittany Lions have experienced a lot of roster turnover from last season and are relying on new faces to carry this year’s team to success. Couple those losses with the step up to Division II competition that PSU will experience against KU and keeping this game competitive will be a tall task for the Nittany Lions.
As a team, PSU likes to get out and run, scoring 84.0 ppg and shooting 46.8 percent from the field and a blistering 41.5 percent from deep. Hannah Bankes leads the way for the Nittany Lion offense, averaging 17.5 ppg and shooting 45.9 percent from long range with 17 made three-pointers in her first four games. Low-post presence, Ebony Sanders, also gets in on the scoring action with 14.8 ppg, and does a lot of the dirty work inside for PSU, leading the team with 6.8 rpg and 1.8 bpg, shooting at an efficient 53.2 percent. KU will have to continue its effective defensive play in this matchup, holding opponents to 65.6 ppg, ranking fifth in the PSAC in scoring defense.